Report helps hospitals care for patients as illness advances   12/17/2012
A new report from the AHA Committee on Performance Improvement provides strategies to help patients and their caregivers prepare for advanced illness. This includes raising community awareness about the benefits of advanced illness planning and preparing health care professionals to provide quality hospice, palliative and end-of-life care as demand for these services grows. A previous committee report examined how hospitals can increase patient access to advanced care planning and services. The committee provides guidance to the AHA Board of Trustees on strategies to support hospital performance improvement and the AHA's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative.
CMS grants conditional approval to three state-based exchanges   12/17/2012
The District of Columbia, Kentucky and New York have received conditional approval to operate state-based health insurance exchanges beginning in 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Friday. Early last week, the Department of Health and Human Services also granted conditional approval for exchanges in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon and Washington state. Friday was the deadline for states that choose to run their own exchange to submit an exchange blueprint to HHS. Other states that have submitted blueprint applications for state-based exchanges include California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today. States opting for a partnership exchange must submit a blueprint by Feb. 15, 2013.
NQF names new president   12/17/2012
The National Quality Forum today named as its new president and CEO effective next summer Christine Cassel, M.D., currently president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Cassel has led ABIM for the past 10 years and previously served as president of the American Federation for Aging Research and American College of Physicians. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and recently served on the coordinating committee for the Measure Applications Partnership, a public-private partnership that advises the Department of Health and Human Services on performance measures for use in federal health care programs. AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said, "As a member of the NQF and on behalf of the hospital field that is implementing a wide variety of NQF-endorsed measures, the AHA is delighted that such a stellar leader has been named to lead the NQF. Dr. Cassel is highly regarded by her fellow physicians and by hospital leaders as someone who understands both the complexities of health care delivery and the importance of sound public policy. She constantly keeps her focus on doing the right thing for patients. For those reasons, she is the appropriate person to lead the NQF into the future."
FDA approves drug to treat inhalational anthrax   12/17/2012
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday approved a new injectable drug to treat and prevent inhalational anthrax, a potential bioterrorism threat. "Although antibiotics are approved to prevent and treat anthrax infection, raxibacumab is the first approved agent that acts by neutralizing the toxins produced by B. anthracis," said Edward Cox, M.D., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The drug, by Human Genome Sciences, was developed under the Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and FDA's Animal Efficacy Rule, which allows efficacy findings from animal studies when it is not feasible or ethical to conduct trials in humans.